Prost to Oktoberfest in Helen, Georgia
Nestled in the Appalachian mountains of north Georgia is a quaint Alpine village, Helen. Helen was established in 1913 as a Bavarian town after its dwindling economy as a logging town. The town was named, Helen, after a lumberjack’s daughter. Now, Helen is one of the top-visited cities in the state of Georgia. Its biggest attraction, aside from its obvious charm and German immersion culture, is the annual Oktoberfest that takes place from the first weekend in September until the last weekend in Oktober. This year will mark the 50th Annual Oktoberfest!
Oktoberfest kicks off with a parade and a traditional tapping of the keg along with live German folk music and polka dancing. The Festhalle is set up with tents serving drinks, food, picnic table seating, live music, and a dance floor. The Festhalle opens at 6 pm on weekdays and at 1 pm on weekends. Admission: Monday-Friday $8.00 per person, Saturday $10.00 per person, Sunday-Free Admission
Although the most popular time to visit Helen is during the months of September and October, there are ongoing events throughout the year. Here is the link to the . events calendar,
Where to Stay:
Be sure to book your stay well in advance! The Bavarian-style hotels in the town of Helen are conveniently located within walking distance of the main street with bars, restaurants, and shopping. If you don’t mind staying further away, Unicoi State Park has lodges that offer complimentary shuttle service to and from Helen. Cabin rentals are also available in the area: Cabin Rentals of Helen, Georgia Mountain Rentals and Pinnacle Cabin Rentals.
Where to eat:
German Cuisine:Savor authentic German cuisines such as schnitzel, spaetzle, bratwurst, pretzels, and torte! Helen offers unforgettable dining experiences at The Heidelberg German Restaurant, Hofbrauhaus Restaurant, Hofer’s of Helen bakery and Cafe, Mountain Haus treats, Muller’s Famous Fried Cheese Restaurant, Old Bavaria Inn Restaurant and Lounge.
Unicoi state park has a range of outdoor adventures such as ziplining, hiking, paddle boating, paddle boarding, fishing, and swimming. If you are staying at one of their lodges, be sure to ask about their attraction package deals before booking your stay.
Tubing: Rent a tube from Cool River Tubing and float down the Chattahoochee River. Enjoy the live music drifting from the bars and restaurants as you drift through Helen. The tube rental offers a complimentary shuttle service at the end of the ride. You can choose the short ride for approximately 1 hour or the long ride for approximately 2 hours.
Charlemagne’s Kingdom: If model trains interest you - you will love this masterpiece. Constructed to mirror Germany’s terrain, this display is a fascinating sight!
Mini Golf: Alpine Mini Golf Village offers a fun-filled time for friends, family, and even pets! Barian Mountain Miniature Golf is an arcade with mini-golf, bowling, and many other games. Enjoy the beautiful vistas of Helen from this elevated location.
Helen Waterpark: Open from Memorial Day to Labor day this thrilling waterpark features, water slides, a lazy river, and tubing.
Anna Ruby Falls: If you’re looking for a short hike, Anna Ruby Falls is only 5 miles from Helen. Once Cherokee land, the falls were discovered after the Civil War and renamed, “Anna Ruby” after Captain Nichol’s daughter. The paved path leading up to magnificent waterfalls is completely shaded, making for an easy uphill stroll. Be sure to wear good hiking shoes as the trail can become slippery. The trail is also equipped with braille signs for the visually impaired. The entrance fee to the falls and visitor center is $3.00.
Wineries: The north Georgia mountains are well known for their wine country. Some of these vineyards are a short drive from Helen. Only half a mile down the road is Habersham Winery. Here visitors can participate in wine tasting and view the winemaking process from observation windows. The gift shop also carries wine and a wide variety of cheese - perfect for packing a picnic on a warm summer day. Helen Wine Company, off of the main street is a wine tasting room offering a variety of wine from north Georgia vineyards. If you are feeling more ambitious, Unicoi Wine Trail is a wine tour, stopping at six surrounding vineyards: Habersham Winery, Serenity Cellars, The Cottage Vineyard, Yonah Mountain Vineyards, CeNita Vineyards, and the Sylvan Valley Lodge & Winery.
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